Rice is a staple throughout Asia, coming from paddies in places like Vietnam, China, Japan, and Korea, among a plethora of others.
For many of these cultures, rice surrounds their cuisines, much in the same way Western countries utilize wheat.
But what about Korean rice? Is it healthy? Yes! Korean rice, like any other, packs plenty of nutrients good for the body and overall wellbeing. However, it’s what mixes with the rice that affects its health.
But a plain bowl of rice is the best thing for those who want a more sensible diet.
Various Types of Korean Rice
In Korea, they use several rice varieties for a host of dishes. The following discusses some of the more popular types that you’ll find in many Korean restaurants and homes.
Bakmi: Short Grain White Rice
This is one of the most common types of rice Koreans use in their dishes but has the lowest nutritional value.
The hulls come off via milling along with the bran and germ, which just leaves starch behind. But, it is the easiest to cook and cheapest to buy.
Hyunmi: Short Grain Brown Rice
The second most popular rice variety in Korea is Hyunmi, which is brown rice. Because the germ and bran still adhere to the grain, this has a higher health value.
But, it does take longer to cook, and it can be difficult on the digestive system.
Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see many Korean dishes with both white and brown rice mixed. It makes it easier on digestion, with a much better texture and quicker cooking time.
Bundomi: Half-Milled Brown Rice
Bundomi is literally the happy medium between white rice and brown rice. Some milling occurs, but a portion of the hull remains. This means it’s much healthier than white rice and a scant bit less healthy than brown.
Another rice type that falls into this category is Bai-a Hyunmi, which is germinated brown rice. People harvest this unpolished rice right as it begins to germinate. This brings on a much better flavor and softer texture than plain Hyunmi.
However, it is one of the more expensive types to buy.
Chapssal: Glutinous or Short Grain Sweet Rice
For the stickiest version of rice you can find in Korea, Chapssal is number one. This is often the most ideal type for desserts and making things like rice cakes.
However, this has an incredibly high glycemic index and can pose problems for those with diabetes.
Yasaeng Chapssal: Black Japonica Rice
Otherwise known as wild short grain rice, this is very dark in color, and it can be either dark brown or black.
Farmers often cultivate these in the same field, but this comes from California using Japanese seeds! While this is not a traditional type of Korean rice, Koreans love it all the same.
Heukmi: Forbidden Rice
Heukmi is another type of black rice that originates from ancient China. It has the nickname “forbidden rice” because it was solely for the emperor.
It has a nutty aromatic flavor that goes with just about any type of dish. It can accompany ones that are either savory or sweet too.
Japgok: Multi-Grain Rice or Mixed Grain Rice
Japgok is the star of the Korean rice cuisine show. It contains things like barley, oats, sorghum, and lentils.
But, it can also have things like wheat, buckwheat, beans, peas, and many other legumes or grains.
However, it takes a long time to make because of the mishmash, and you have to soak it prior to cooking.
Nutritional Value of Each Korean Rice Type
There are some vitamin B’s and starch, but that’s about it. In one 110-gram package of Bakmi, there are 450 calories along with 12 grams of protein, 22 grams of fat, and 50 grams of carbs.
So, it’s not unhealthy, but it doesn’t necessarily contribute to sensible eating for those looking to lose weight.
Many vitamins and minerals come packed in a ¼ cup of Hyumni. This typically contains 160 calories with two grams of fat, three grams of protein, and 83 grams of carbohydrates.
This makes it an ideal option for anyone wanting to eat better on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, the nutritional value for Bundomi is not readily available.
However, we can surmise that there will be something of a balance between what you find in Bakmi versus Hyunmi. This is because it’s the rice type that sits between the two.
Because Chapssal is a very glutinous rice, it is not advisable for those with a gluten allergy or intolerance to consume it.
However, for everyone else, 100 grams contains 353 calories along with one gram of fat, 80 grams of carbs, and six grams of protein. So, this is very ideal for those who want to watch their weight.
For Black Japonica Rice, there are 150 calories in a ¼ cup (45 grams) when cooked. It has 1½ grams of fat, 33 grams of carbs, three grams of fiber, and four grams of protein.
For 1½ cups of cooked Heukmi, there are 680 calories. This comes with 12 grams of protein, 33 grams of fat, and 85 grams of carbohydrates.
If you’re looking to trim inches off of your waist, eat this type of rice sparingly.
Often full of fiber and iron, Japgok is one of the healthiest in terms of Korean rice.
However, the other grains and legumes that mix into it will determine what the nutritional value is.
As you can clearly see, Korean rice is very healthy. Some are healthier than others, which can increase the price.
Regardless, any type of rice delivers essential vitamins and minerals while providing a good, easy substance for your digestive system.
While there are some rice types certain special diets should stay away from, most of them are great to make for well-balanced eating.